Professional networks worldwide are being led by a growing demand for mobile communications, as more businesses, consumers and industries leverage anywhere, anytime connectivity.
This trend will continue through to 2020, according to LinkedIn’s regional managing director, Cliff Rosenberg.
He told IDG Government during an interview that smartphones, mobile devices and on-the-move interactivity is driving demand across education, government, health, finance, mining or resources, among other industries.
Rosenberg, who opened LinkedIn’s Australian and New Zealand office six years ago, said that professional networks are fast-tracking investments in mobile channels.
LinkedIn’s Australian and NZ presence has grown from a base of one million to six million since the regional launch in 2009. “I started from home as employee number one,” recalled Rosenberg.
“Today we employ 200 staff and 80 percent of ASX 100 companies are leveraging LinkedIn for recruiting.”
The company’s global market capitalisation is placed at US$27 billion annually. There are expansions into the B2B marketing space, more recently through the US$175 million buyout of Bizo.
This takes LinkedIn closer toward becoming an online platform for marketers, recruiters and companies to engage with professionals.
Getting to a mobile moment
This engagement leverages mobile channels that connect individual members or corporate clients, Rosenberg said.
“We’re getting very close to what we call our mobile moment. Nearly 50 per cent of our members globally connect or share updates using mobile devices, on the move, in taxis or airports.”
He added that members are tapping into smart phones and mobile devices to build profiles or stay connected. The future lies in consolidating companies’ mobile footprint.
The mobile terrain is dynamic, fast and adapts to core customer, corporate or educational needs. Profiles are brushed up and shared in a fluid environment. This connectivity straddles different demographics, cultures and geographies.
Profiles in permanent beta
The recruitment patterns are changing. To attract quality staff, organisations must build the talent brand. This involves a closer integration between HR and marketing.
“Both are about building the brand or messages that add value to the broader company message,” said Rosenberg.
Professionals or companies most likely to succeed are in “permanent beta” or reinventing themselves.
Being in a permanent beta stage involves staying brand-savvy, adapting to challenges and being commercially-adept around the personal or corporate brand.
The concept of “never stop or starting all over again” comes into play. This leverages a mindset that sees careers or business as a work-in-progress, often over a lifetime.
This thinking refines, modifies and enhances the professional, business or educational profile.
Job tenure is old school
This century, job tenure is on the decline, said Rosenberg. “We find that four years is the average job tenure. By 2020, this will drop to three years in any given job."
This trend means professionals are taking control of their careers, through social media or networks beyond the traditional job hunt.
Higher education sees value in helping students build their professional profiles. “This is thinking about the next point in careers, quite apart from social networks with friends or families,” said Rosenberg.
Chiefs join rank and file
For a tech-savvy generation, the attraction lies in connecting with socially-engaged CEOs, noted Rosenberg. “We see the light bulbs going on across corporate boardrooms. When we talked to CEO groups in the past, half the room had active profiles, or ones they could be proud of."
Today, the uptake of executive profiles is nearly 90 per cent across most industries.
The uptake of social engagement comes from the grassroots. This is mirrored at the top by high-profile people.
“They are out there, actively connecting with communities. Company chiefs are getting au fait with the successes. They now see the benefits of being just as engaged.”
LinkedIn’s current corporate base encompasses 4 million company pages and 2 million LinkedIn groups – both open and closed groups.
“These are excellent places for conversations,” added Rosenberg. “The uplift for social media across business is phenomenal.”
The social media domain is nascent and adapts to communities of interest, where the real conversations or interactions occur. The challenge is to embrace this dialogue and stay sharp about opportunities.
Seeking the passive talent
The search for talent involves leveraging social media and mobility. “We’ve become quite disruptive to the way companies go about recruiting the top talent,” Rosenberg said.
“For the first time, recruiters can target the passive talent or people that are not actively looking for work. In a mobile or online space, these connections are an important resource.”
Five or 10 years ago, recruiters could not access the passive talent. “Today, they reach broader communities and increasingly in a mobile environment,” added Rosenberg.
Another area LinkedIn is increasing its focus is on social selling. Analytics and big data or personal introductions turn cold calls into a warm lead. This takes the heavy lifting out of selling or building a personal or corporate brand.
“The sales proposition is about social selling. The response rate on a warm introduction is significant,” noted Rosenberg.
The early adopters of LinkedIn came from traditional IT, software, media or telco sectors.
More recent membership goes deep and increasingly into the vertical space. “We’re seeing significant numbers coming up from healthcare, education, retail, mining and government. There is a broader diversity that cuts across every industry or sector.”
In the Australian, NZ and APAC region, the company’s professional network spans 23 languages across major cities. The Australian presence is managed out of Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.
The LinkedIn site is available in a babble of tongues worldwide. Last year, the company tabulated 65.6 million monthly unique visitors just in the US. This was topped by around 178.4 million globally.
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